The fire was reported at about 4:30 a.m. at Storm’s Ahead Kennels near East Mount Garfield and Maple Island roads.
Fruitport Township Public Safety Director Brian Michelli said the pole barn-type structure was fully involved in fire with a partial roof collapse when crews arrived. There were no signs of any surviving dogs.
Because there were no signs of life and the flames were so big, the fire was only knocked down from the outside.
The kennel owners told Michelli that the facility was full, with around 30 dogs inside — including some of their own. It's likely many families dropped their dogs off before heading out of town for next week’s spring break.
The kennel owners posted the following statement on Facebook a few hours after the incident: “Early this morning a fire broke out in our kennel facility. Boarder dogs along with our own personal dogs in the kennel at the time lost their lives in the fire. We are devastated at the impact that this loss of lives is having on clients, friends and family. We are notifying each of the families individually. Our prayers are with you all.”
The building did have heat and power, two things that will be looked into when fire department officials return to the scene to investigate the cause.